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  • D. Randall Faro

Applause Is Not Enough



Marilyn Monroe, August 4, 1962, age 36. Cause of death: drugs.

Jimi Hendrix, September 18, 1970, age 27. Cause of death: drugs.

Janis Joplin, October 4, 1970, age 27. Cause of death: drugs.

Jim Morrison, July 3, 1971, age 27. Cause of death: drugs.

Elvis Presley, August 16, 1977, age 42. Cause of death: drugs.

John Belushi, March 5, 1982, age 33. Cause of death: drugs.

River Phoenix, October 31, 1993, age 23. Cause of death: drugs.

Kurt Cobain, April 5, 1994, age 27. Cause of death: drugs leading to suicide.

Anna Nicole Smith, February 8, 2007, age 39. Cause of death: drugs.

Michael Jackson, June 25, 2009, age 50. Cause of death: drugs.


These ten people had three things in common:

1) they were all talented celebrities.

2) they died young (8 of the 10 were 39 or younger; the other two, 42 and 50).

3) drugs were a primary factor in the cause of their deaths.


The above is only a short list of famous, talented people whose lifestyles lead to their death . . . which leads to observation such as:

1) The mesmerizing phenomenon of crowd adulation (99.9% of the people unknown to the performing artist) seems to have built-in demons.

2) Supportive personal relationships seem to have either been absent or given a back seat to the lure of fame and fortune.

3) When hard-to-handle pressures came to bear, individuals turned to drugs for relief.

4) A firm spiritual foundation was lacking or ignored.


These four notions are, of course, generalizations. Individual cases may vary considerably, but there is enough evidence to lead to a sense of these as common denominators in varying degrees.

My experience over 55 years as an adult (assuming official adulthood begins at 21) is that being grounded spiritually is an immense factor in helping one through life. Spiritual foundations vary – take your pick – but to have no guiding source of strength to undergird one’s life leaves an individual open to all sorts of dangerous paths.

To embrace and cultivate a spiritual (metaphysical/psychic/spectral . . . whatever terminology suits you) foundation is not something that happens accidentally. It is a purposeful, determined quest to find a source of strength and guidance that works for you . . . and then work at developing that connection in ways that are life-giving. Work like your life depends on it . . . because it just might.


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